|Nursery Loses Discrimination Case Brought by Christian Worker|
Ruled unfair to sack Sarah Mbuyi for saying being gay was a sin
A Montessori School and Nursery in Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush says it is reviewing the decision of an employment tribunal panel with its legal team after the tribunal found it had acted unfairly in sacking a Christian worker for saying that she believed being gay was a sin.
Sarah Mbuyi was fired by Newpark Childcare in Shepherd's Bush for gross misconduct after making the comment to a lesbian colleague.
Miss Mbuyi, who is Belgian and lives in from Tottenham was dismissed after a year working with children aged under one. She claimed the sacking breached European law on religious freedom and took out legal action against the organisation.
The 31 year-old denied harassment, claiming the gay woman approached her asking about religion and same-sex marriage as she was angry at being barred from marrying her partner in a church.
The Christian Legal Centre, which supported Miss Mbuyi, said an employment tribunal at Watford had found she was directly discriminated against because of her belief that homosexual practice was contrary to the Bible.
The tribunal recognised that while the employer was "not anti-Christian" Miss Mbuyi had not been treated fairly and the decision to sack her may have been made on "stereotypical assumptions about her and her beliefs".
Her belief was described by the tribunal as one which is "worthy of respect in a democratic society, is not incompatible with human dignity and is not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others".
The tribunal found Miss Mbuyi's colleague had brought up her sexuality in conversation and there was little or no evidence to suggest the sacked woman targeted her colleague in an attempt to force her faith on her. It said the internal investigation by the employer was hampered by "stereotypical assumption about evangelical Christians".
Tiffany Clutterbuck, a director of Newpark Childcare, which has five nurseries across London and describes itself as a "small, family run company" told The Sunday Times that she was disappointed by the ruling. She said: "We have robust policies and rules to ensure our nursery is inclusive and supportive for our children and staff and we took the decision to dismiss Miss Mbuyi with a view to protecting that culture.
"The attention on our small business during the course of this case has been intense with significant involvement from Christian pressure groups.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and chief executive of the CLC, said: "This is a brave judgment and comes as a great relief to Miss Mbuyi and to all of us at the Christian Legal Centre.
"This judgment is a 'common sense' judgment which shows understanding of the Christian faith and Miss Mbuyi's freedom to live and speak it out in the work place.
"We have been in the employment courts for over a decade now and at last we have a sensible decision."
Miss Mbuyi is now working as a nanny elsewhere. Today, she spoke of her immense relief at the outcome.
She said: "I only ever responded to questions that my colleague asked me and wanted the very best for her. I give glory to God for the decision and say 'well done' to the Christian Legal Centre.
"I hope that my previous employer and colleagues are well and will understand from this that my intention was for their best."
June 8, 2015
June 8, 2015